Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Washington, DC: Please support Greg Hourigan.

An open appeal to good beer fans, good beer brewers, and good beer advocates in the Washington, D.C. / Baltimore, Maryland, area ...

Someone who has long been an advocate for good, local beer, and who has long given our business his support, now needs our assistance. A few weeks ago, Greg Hourigan —proprietor of Hard Times Cafe, in Bethesda, Maryland— was diagnosed with leukemia.

Greg Hourigan

The craft beer world in the U.S. today sometimes seems spoiled by its current good-beer abundance. Whether its the replenished neophytes or group short-term memory loss: for a beer or brewery of more than three years pedigree, the collective will have moved on to the next newest thing, forgetting or abandoning what came before, much of which remains damn tasty.

In the Washington, D.C. suburban area, Greg Hourigan, at his Hard Times in Bethesda, did not forget. Yes, he poured the 'standards, but he also has long been pouring 'craft' beers —local and far afield— often when others were not, and beginning when such things were not always easy to find. Early on, he supported local breweries, and has continued to do so.

Hourigan and Heurich
Here's Hourigan (left) greeting Gary Heurich, in March 2006, who had chosen Hard Times to be the site for the final DC-area event for his Heurich beer.

UPDATE: 9 August 2012

A celebration in Hourigan's honor was held Thursday, August 9th, at Hard Times Cafe, where Greg has long been the proprietor. It was an opportunity for friends and well-wishers to show their appreciation, offer their support, and raise much-needed funds to help defray Hourigan's mounting medical costs.

Fundraiser for Greg Hourigan

Over 700 showed up, filling the pub and the block of Del Ray Avenue outside, which the Bethesda Police and Fire department had blocked off. Thanking all, Kevin Hourigan, Greg's brother, had hopeful news to report.

Hundreds gather in support of Greg Hourigan

Is it even POSSIBLE to put into words the beauty of Thursday night's Celebration honoring Greg?

Montgomery County Police blocked off Del Ray Avenue; The Liquor Board granted us an outdoor license for the evening; and Lyrics' own Rick Demar emceed the raffles and auctions and provided the crowd of over 700 people with non-stop music!

We had SOOO much fun as we mixed, mingled, ate, drank, danced, and shared stories of Greg and days-gone-by.

And we raised A LOT of money to help Tenna and Greg with any of their financial needs.

I cannot begin to single out any one contributor...you showed your love and support by the hundreds and the entire Hourigan Clan is grateful beyond measure.


Greg is continuing his slow road back to wellness and we ask your continued prayers for his physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and well-being.

For those who were not able to attend and would wish to contribute, send a check —payable to Greg Hourigan— to:
The Greg Hourigan Fund
7910 Woodmont Avenue, Ste. 1204
Bethesda, MD 20816.
... or contact Gloria Arnold of the Bethesda/Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce at garnold@bccchamber.org.

We love you Greg!

  • For updates on Hourigan's condition (and information on where to visit him), go to Caring Bridge.
  • See more photos of the benefit: here. And, a video: here.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pic(k) of the Week: Twin Beer-Mobiles in Old Town

Twin Beer-Mobiles in Old Town

The parking gods must be crazy.

On Monday, 23 July 2012, the drivers for two 'beer-mobiles' — one from Devils Backbone Brewing (driving up from Roseland, Virginia), and the other, Heavy Seas Brewing (driving down from Baltimore, Maryland) somehow found adjacent parking spots in busy Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. In the photo, Joe Gold —driver, and Sales Manager for Heavy Seas — grins as he displays his spot, standing next to the brewery's 'Loose Cannon van.'

Good beer bar/restaurant Pizzeria Paradiso had invited area brewers and brewery representatives (from Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) to a Local Brewer Showcase, as a celebration and unveiling of the restaurant's new, larger, beer bar.

I was there that evening. The nearest I was able to park my 'beer-mobile' was 4 blocks distant.

  • More photos from the showcase: here.
  • More pics of 'beer mobiles': here.
  • Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virgina— I sell the beers of Heavy Seas Brewing.
  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, often posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as subject. Commercial use requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pic(k) of the Week: Pretty in Black

Pretty in black

The occasion was a fundraiser for the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The 'hook' was Pretty in Pink: a Rockin' 80s Rosé Party, a tasting of rosé wines.

The host was Screwtop WineBar, a combo wine café and shop, in Arlington, Virginia.

Above, three in black were enjoying their 'pink' rosés. And, yes, there was plenty of 'bad' '80s' music as soundtrack.

14 July 2012

  • A rosé, though pink, is a dry wine. More from Dave McIntyre, the wine critic for the Washington Post: here.
  • There's no good reason that a 'wine bar' cannot also be a supporter of 'good' beer. Note the tap handle to the right.
  • Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virgina— I was pouring rosés at the tasting. More photos: here.
  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, often posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as subject. Commercial use requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mad Fox celebrates; more VA breweries open.

Mad Fox Brewing Company —a brewpub in Falls Church, Virginia— threw an all-day, SRO, party on Saturday, to celebrate its 2nd anniversary. There were draught and cask ale tappings, a pig roast, live music, giveaways, etc.

Mad 2nd (02)

Now, consider this. Since Mad Fox originally opened, in July of 2010, at least five more breweries have begun operations in Virginia. They are, alphabetically:
The Mid-Atlantic Brewing News lists forty breweries or brewpubs as operating in the Old Dominion; sixteen of them post updates to Twitter. At least one, however —Shooting Creek Farm in Floyd, Virginia— has closed, and two aren't exactly 'craft' breweries: Anheuser-Busch InBev, in Willamsburg, and Miller-Coors, in Elkton.

If we expand the penumbra to the DMV —that is, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland— we see a dozen breweries that can be added to the register of the brewing: three in the District, and four in Maryland.

In Washington, D.C., they are (by date of opening):
In Maryland, they are (alphabetically):
According to the Brewers Association —the lobbying group for U.S. breweries of annual production of fewer than six million barrels— growth of the craft brewing industry in 2011 was 13% by volume and 15% by dollars, compared to growth in 2010 of 12% by volume and 15% by dollars.

Furthermore, the U.S. was home to 1,940 'craft' breweries in 2011. By May of this year, that total had increased to 2,000, exactly.

These are indeed heady days to be a 'good' beer fan, across the nation, and here in the mid-Atlantic region, where other breweries have announced plans to open. Stay tuned; stay thirsty!

  • See a few more photos of the Mad Fox 2nd anniversary party: here.
  • If I've missed any breweries, or if any of the numbers or information above are incorrect, please correct the record by leaving a comment or sending an email.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pic(k) of the Week: Old & New in Canton

Old & new in Canton

Looking out from a dining room table, at the Heavy Seas Alehouse, in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. The restaurant, which opened only in February of this year, is located in a re-developed building that once housed the Holland Tack Factory.

For over 90 years. Holland fasteners went into such things as major league baseballs, school bulletin boards and sofas. During the Civil War, the building served as a hospital for Confederate soldiers.

Maryland law prohibits a brewery from brewing in more than one location. Thus, the Alehouse uses the name, logo, and graphics of the Heavy Seas Brewery under license, but does not itself brew. True to its name, it serves only the beers of Heavy Seas: two cask beers and ten draft taps at any one time. The brewery itself is located a few miles away, in Halethorpe, Maryland.

Photo taken 2 June 2012.

  • More photos of the Heavy Seas Alehouse: here.
  • Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virgina— I sell the beers of Heavy Seas Brewing.
  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, often posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as subject. Commercial use requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Haiku for YFGF

Brewer & beer

A first: a haiku written for Yours For Good Fermentables, by a friend of the site.

Who does not love beer?
Yours for Good Fermentables?
I surely think not!

Written by no one in the photo; it simply seemed appropriate.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

3 Stars now brewing; beers due in August.

Where there were none, now there are three, Washington, D.C.!

Here's today's press release from 3 Stars Brewing Company, which has joined Chocolate City and DC Brau as one of only three production breweries to operate in the Nation's Capital since the 1950s.

3 Stars Brewing
It’s official – residents of the District of Columbia now have another craft brewery operating at full steam in their backyard. The long-awaited 3 Stars Brewing Company is excited to announce that it has completed the inspection and permitting process, and is now brewing in Takoma, Washington, D.C.

“The build-out and permitting process has taken a bit longer than Mike & I had expected, but we’re excited to finally have brewing operations underway” says 3 Stars President Dave Coleman. “We have used the extra time to refine some of our recipes, and get the word out in the community about our beers so there’s excitement and an appreciation about what we’re doing at 3 Stars Brewing Company.”

"I am very excited to have 3 Stars Brewing Company as a part of the DC craft beer scene,” says Greg Jasgur,
 Executive Bar Manager of 
Pizzeria Paradiso/Birreria Paradiso. “I have been particularly impressed with the care and thoughtfulness they have shown with their collaborative releases, and am quite eager to see what they have brewing for all of us in the future. I hope to be drinking interesting, delicious 3 Stars beers for a very long time."

3 Stars stars
Mike McGarvey (l); Dave Coleman (r)

Coleman and co-founder Mike McGarvey are planning on releasing three different beers as their initial offerings to the DC market this summer, including:
  • Urban Farmhouse: a Belgian-style Saison (6.5% ABV) with a slightly sweet fruity nose, hints of grass & coriander, and a clean dry finish with smooth lingering citrus notes.
  • The Southern Belle: an Imperial Brown Ale (8.7% ABV) carries subtle notes of roasted coffee, toasted pecans, and oak, with a smooth, yet slightly effervescent, mouthfeel and deep rich malt character.
  • The Pandemic Porter: an American Imperial Porter (9.6% ABV) with cold steeped fresh-roasted small batch coffee added during secondary fermentation. Loaded with a huge roasted malt and coffee nose, and chocolate and roasted malt flavors up front, this porter finishes smooth with lingering chocolate and coffee flavors and balanced malt bitterness.

Once released, 3 Stars Brewing Company beers will be available at restaurants and bars throughout DC, as well as some retail outlets, both on tap and in 750 ml bottles.

"The launch of 3 Stars Brewing Company should have everyone in DC excited. Our team at Smith Commons has had an opportunity to sample several of their offerings, and it is safe to say that Dave and Mike are brewing up world-class beers,” says Miles Gray, Managing Partner of Smith Commons Dining Room & Public House. “The brews are truly artisan in execution and express a subtle, yet flavorful complexity not often seen in Mid-Atlantic beers.”

About 3 Stars Brewing Company
3 Stars Brewing Company is delivering on the promise of bringing locally hand-crafted artisanal ales to the DC area. The company consists of Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey, two long time friends who decided to seize the opportunity to produce high quality beer for the District of Columbia – hoping to make this world-class city a world-class craft beer destination. For more information about the brewery, please visit www.3starsbrewing.com.

3 Stars says that its initial distribution will be within Washington, D.C. only, with expansion to the suburbs of Virginia and Maryland to follow at some point. The brewery's current packaging plans are for kegs and 750-ml (25.4 ounces) bottles. The tasting room will open (and brewery tours will begin) once beers are being sold in August.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Pic(k) of the Week: Shinier Baseballs

Shinier baseballs

Giant mirror-finished stainless steel baseballs adorn the outside of Nationals Park along N Street SE, Washington, D.C., and reflect the street-scene below.

Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, often posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as subject. Commercial use requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.